When you stop changing

I had an idea a while back.  It went something like this:  We don’t change as we get older.  We just stop trying to change.  The more we stop trying to change, the more we come back to who we really are.

Allow me to elaborate a bit.

As children, we do what we love without much thought.  We sing, dance, play, create and express ourselves fully and joyfully.  When you are fully self-expressed, how can you be anything less than joyful?  We lean towards those who show us love and kindness, and we avoid those who are mean and hurtful.

At some point as we get older, we start to change. We stop singing, dancing and playing.  We start changing who we are – who we BE – to fit a mould or a stereotype or an ideal or an image.  Our life gets overtaken by shoulds and shouldn’ts.

I should take this job.

I shouldn’t wear stripes and polka dots.

I should study that subject.

I shouldn’t sing in public.

I should.  I shouldn’t.  I should.  I shouldn’t.

And mostly we get so stuck wondering and worrying about what other people think about who we are and what we’re up to, that we forget about I am, and I love and I’m happy.  We change away from who we are, turning into some version of ourselves that we don’t quite recognize.  We accept people in our life who makes us feel bad.  We do things we don’t love – and don’t do things we do love – because we feel like we should.  Or shouldn’t. We have to, or can’t, or not right now, or maybe later.  

And my favourite: One day.

One day I’ll start painting again.

One day I’ll exercise.

One day I’ll have dinner with my old friend.

One day I’ll write that book.

One day I’ll open my own business.

One day…some day…

This leads to all kinds of drama.  All the Who am I? questions and What’s my purpose? questions and I need to find myself inquiries.  And then we read books (and blogs!) and talk to therapists and friends and listen to tapes and listen to Oprah and then something happens…

We find ourselves drifting away from those people who make us feel bad.  We find ourselves colouring again.  Or running.  Or playing the piano.  Or whatever it is that brings us joy.  We stop worrying about what other people will think, and just live our lives with a little more love.

And we’re happy.

People say “You’ve changed.”

No, you haven’t.

You’re back to being you. Back to who you were always meant to be.

You’ve stopped changing.

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Be –> Do –> Have

A couple of years ago, I took a self-development class that introduced me to the concept that people live their lives with a Have –> Do –> Be mentality.  This idea really hit home for me.  I saw in this simple concept the way I had approached writing my whole life.

When I HAVE the right desk, I will WRITE (DO), and then I will BE a writer.

When I HAVE the right computer, I will WRITE, and then I will BE a writer.

When I HAVE the time, I will WRITE, and then I will BE a writer.

When I HAVE the life of a writer, I will WRITE, then I will BE a writer.

And it wasn’t always about writing.  It also meant:

When I have no more fear, I will share my music, and then I will be a musician.

When I have some inspiration/time/ideas/whatever, I will do that thing I want to do (sing/write/dance/etc) and then I will be what I want to be (musician/writer/dancer/artist/happy…)

I spent my whole life waiting for inspiration to strike and fear to dissipate.  I thought when those things had been achieved, I would do what I always wanted to do, and be what I always wanted to be.

But in that class, I got clear that you be who you want to be, do the things that person does, and then have the life you want.  Not the other way around.  It was time to stop waiting for time/inclination/inspiration, and just be.  And do.  And then I would have.

So now I’m not waiting to have a writer’s life to write.

I am a writer.  So I write.  And that’s what gives me a writer’s life.

I am a musician.  So I write and play music.  And I have a musician’s life.

I’m not waiting around for inspiration to strike and lead me to the life I want anymore.  This concept gave me the access to design the life I want, not wait for the life I want to happen to me.  Artistry and joy and freedom are not dependant on outside influences or resources.  It’s all at my fingertips.  It’s not what I have, it’s who I be.  It’s up to me.

It’s not Have –> Do –> Be.

It’s Be –> Do –> Have.

BE who you want to be.  DO what you want to do.  HAVE the life you’ve always dreamed.